Established Leader – a) Adaptive Teaching - Primary Leadership Journey

By Phil Wickins posted 19 days ago


This is the first blog in the Established Leader series on the Primary Computing Leadership Journey.  During the Established Leader section, we will be exploring in more detail some of the aspects that become the focus once a good foundation of computing has been ingrained. These are covered in more detail in the whole day face to face course: Leading Primary Computing Module 3. Please click on the infographic below, which suggests activities and features in a sequenced journey for computing leaders. It serves as a good place to start if you are a new leader, or a kind of check list to look back on if you are a developing leader or established leader. You can click on each area of each section, which will take you to incremental blogs giving you CPD and resources and the opportunity to comment:

When asked in the Big Primary Computing Leadership Survey which teaching areas you felt you needed the most CPD in, many leaders mentioned adaptive teaching, including challenging more able pupils (just under SEND and inclusion, which is my next blog):

So what is adaptive teaching? Is it the same as differentiation? Do we still use phrases like more able and less able? What is scaffolding and how can you use formative assessment as a method of adaptive teaching? All of these questions and more are answered in the brand new course Leading Primary Computing Module 3, a fantastic face to face whole day FREE course for the established computing leader, led by experienced professional development leaders.

Adaptive teaching is defined and described in the Ofsted Education inspection framework:

Pupils are likely to make progress at different rates. As a consequence, they may require different levels and types of support from teachers to succeed. In-class differentiation, through providing differentiated teaching, activities or resources, has generally not been shown to have much impact on pupils’ attainment.

On the other hand, adapting teaching in a responsive way, for example by providing focused support to pupils who are not making progress, is likely to improve outcomes. However, this type of adaptive teaching should be clearly distinguished from forms of differentiation that cause teachers to artificially create distinct tasks for different groups of pupils or to set lower expectations for particular pupils.

In addition, it should be clearly stated that there is no evidence that pupils have distinct and identifiable learning styles. Trying to design tasks with this misconception in mind will increase teachers’ workload but is very unlikely to improve learning.

Please have a read of this fantastic blog by Jane Waite on Scaffolding, using The Computer Science Student-Centred Instructional Continuum.

There are also some fantastic ‘quick reads’ on the Teach Computing Website’s Pedagogy page which show some great ways to set up your teaching practice to aid and provide opportunities for adaptive teaching, in particular the ones on Parson’s Problems, Semantic Waves, Cognitive Load and PRIMM.

What are your best adaptive teaching approaches or techniques? Tell us in the comments!

Next blog: SEND and Inclusion
Previous blog: Established Leader

CQF: If you have signed up to complete the Computer Quality Framework, then any activity undertaken in this incremental section of the Leadership Journey would count towards to the 'Teaching, Learning and Assessment' dimension of the CQF.